Chipko Anniversary Greetings

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The following messages were translated and posted in the Lata village square as part of the Chipko anniversary celebrations:

We Have AwokenFrom: irene.dankelman@hetnet.nl
Date: 2004/03/25 Thu 05:45:49 EST
Irene Dankelman in the Netherlands writes:

Dear women of the Chipko movement and men supporters,

Your work and struggles have inspired so many of us, for years and years! Thank you for your wisdom, your endeavours, the way you showed us that Gandhian resistance is still of this age! I (as a person acting at the global women-environment level) will soon write a little bit more…and be in touch with you.

Warm greetings, love and peace.

From: James@unt.edu
Date: 2004/03/24 Wed 13:12:44 EST
George James in North Texas, USA writes:

Congratulations to the women of Rani on the 30th Anniversary of the founding of the Chipko Movement. This movement has been successful in bringing about legislation to protect the Himalayas against contract felling by non-violent means. It remains a tremendous inspiration to grassroots environmental movements in other parts of India and around the world.

From: kbosak@uga.edu
Date: 2004/03/24 Wed AM 08:29:45 EST
Keith Bosak in Georgia, USA writes:

The Chipko movement represents a milestone both globally and locally. The women of Chipko showed all of us that social and ecological justice go hand in hand. Their peaceful demonstrations fostered a sense of agency that still exists today in the villages of the Niti valley. I have the deepest respect and admiration for the women of Chipko who have made a lasting impression on their own people and others around the world.

From: sahyadri007@rediffmail.com
Date: 2004/03/24 Wed AM 05:08:31 EST
Dear Women Of Lata and Reni,

Congratulations to you all on the 30th anniversary of Chipko movement! Though I am not in th Developmental Sector however, I am very much concerned about the Environmental issues.

I am in the process of learning the issues however I have realised the importance of your action in conserving our environment and basic human rights. Wish you all the luck for your future endeavours.

From: jayanta@iimcal.ac.in
Date: 2004/03/24 Wed AM 01:51:42 EST
Jayanta Bandhyopadhyay of the Centre for Development and Environment Policy in Kolkata writes:

My dear friends and senior social activists of Chipko Andolan,

On the occasion of the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Chipko Andolan in the Gram Sabha at Lata, I wish I could be present with you all. Afer getting the information on this meeting I was trying to alter my commitments made here, so that I could travel to Lata. However, there is an important discussion here in Kolkata on the proposed interlinking of rivers and I need to be here for that. So, please accept my cordial greetings on this 30th anniversary meeting of Chipko.

Looking back to the early days of the Chipko Andolan, one can not ignore the rapid social and cultural changes that have taken place in Uttarakhand, largely due to the spread of Globalisation. However, the objectives of the Andolan, namely, decentralised management of forest resources and sustainable development of the mountain communities are equally significant, probably more than ever. Mountains have, for centuries, internalised people from other areas but have not lost their social and cultural characteristics, of honesty, simplicity, respect for the community and human values. Let these not be lost to the culture of globalisation, of seeing values only in currency notes.

The spirit of Nirbhay Satyagraha is probably needed much more today, than 30 years ago. Let this meeting strengthen the spirit of Satyagraha, that guided the Chipko Andolan.

As I write this message to you all, I recall the unique cultural contributions to the Andolan made by my elder friend and poet, Late Shri Ghanshyam Raturi. Please join me in gratefully remembering him on this occasion.

From: pshenk@sonnenschein.com
Date: 2004/03/23 Tue PM 08:16:28 EST
Patricia Shenk in the USA writes:

Blessed Be to all of you as keepers of the truth, the light and the flames of eternity. I send you congratulations and best wishes in your endeavors. I support your work and encourage you to continue. We all work together to protect the planet and encourage wholeness and health. I hope to vist you some day. Be in good spirits and enjoy your celebration. As you rejoyce, so do the Gods and the Goddesses are inspired to continue their protection.

From: rd.griesbaum@web.de
Date: 2004/03/23 Tue AM 06:07:18 EST
Ralf Griesbaum in Freiburg, Germany writes:

Dear women of Lata and Reni,

When people celebrate days it is about celebrating the “end of something” and the “beginning of something”. Your celebration is a memory of the day when the “chipko women” defended their rights; it was the end of accepting injustice and the beginning to claim rights on local resources. The unity amongst the people was the driving force behind your movement.

The challenges are nowadays even more! For example: Unemployment of the youth, emigration to the plains, a developing tourism policy with consequences for the local communities and the individual desire to make fast money. The local resources, including human resources are mostly directly or indirectly controlled and managed outside the community institutions, without participation of local people.

Thirty years ago, the “chipko women” showed their commitment and responsibility towards the future of their own people and the nature! Since a few years tourism is an increasing important economic factor for the national, regional and local development. But what the local forest for logging companies meant is in many ways transferable to the tourism industry desires for a particular tourism destination! The birthplace of the “chipko movement”, Uttarakhand will be another test for the goods and evils of tourism.

For this reason I have the desire and hope:

“Give local communities a chance!”

I am convinced that a “fair tourism” respects the interests of the local people and reflects the spirit of the “chipko movement”!

My family members, friends and I wish you and us a future with the guiding spirit of the chipko movement!

From: jtyldesley@hotmail.com
Date: 2004/03/22 Mon PM 01:29:01 EST
Joan Tyldesley in Vancouver, Canada writes:

What a wonderful gift you have given the rest of us in the world! Thank you for your courage and perseverance.

From: joyw@interlog.com
Date: 2004/03/22 Mon PM 12:51:34 EST
Joy Woolfrey of the Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace writes:

Thank you to all the women who have provided leadership, not just to save the trees in Chipko, but in the world. In Nova Scotia we have recently lost many trees to disease and because of a hurricane. We know how precious they are and how long it takes to replace them.

From: swagatakainthola@rediffmail.com
Date: 2004/03/22 Mon AM 07:47:06 EST
Swagata Kainthola in Dehra Dun writes:

Aap Sabhi ko Naman! Heartiest Congratulations to you all,

It is indeed a proud moment. Let us all celebrate the heroic action of the women who came out instinctively to protect their identity without much glorification. Your courage and wisdom have been reinforcing us with energy to continue the fight for the much denied rights. Remembrance and Salute to Gaura Devi and rest of the women.

Jai Ma Nanda Devi!

From: baskets@fishwear.com
Date: 2004/03/22 Mon AM 12:20:18 EST
Theresa Wilson in the USA writes:

The Blessing Basket Project honors your heritage and is standing by to help the Chipko movement and its efforts to help women. We look forward to helping you crush poverty and empower women!

From: aiwcctc@nda.vsnl.net.in
Date: 2004/03/20 11:15:43 +0530
Gomathi Nair of All India Women’s Conference writes:

Dear Sisters,

Congratulations for the Chipko Movement keep up the spirit for ever.

From: info@natuurcollege.nl
Date: 2004/03/19 Fri AM 08:07:56 EST
The Nature College of the Netherlands writes:

In respect for your 30 years battle to save the trees as your living community the Nature College send you their congratulations and best wishes for the future.

From: ndjayal@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 2004/03/19 2:36 AM
ND Jayal of the Himalaya Trust writes:

On behalf of the Himalaya Trust (which has been working in Uttarakhand for a decade for eco-development of village communities) and on my own behalf, our greetings and good wishes on the 30th anniversary of the unique Chipko movement, initiated by Gaura Devi, which has truly transformed perceptions world-wide on the critical need to conserve natural forests, especially in sensitive mountain ecosystems.

As one responsible for establishing the Nanda Devi National Park in 1983, I have strongly urged the governments of India and Uttarakhand to safeguard people traditional rights by shifting the core area beyond Dibrugheta, and involving fully the Lata-Rani communities in conservation efforts and limited eco-tourism in harmony with the overall conservation ethic of a unique World Heritage Site. We hope and trust that these objectives will continue to guide the present torch-bearers of the Chipko movement of Lata-Reni villages which essentially spearheaded the creed of Conservation. In this endeavour we wholeheartedly support your movement for what should be a crucial role for village communities in safeguarding the sanctity of Goddess Nanda Devi.

From: vsk@godrej.com
Date: 2004/03/18 Thu PM 10:31:05 EST
Vivek Kulkarni in Mumbai writes:

The Chipko movement has been the first environmental movement that has affected me and prompted me to take environment as a religion as well as the profession. I remember the dance drama we had organised on the Chipko movement focussing Amrita Devi. The event was a hit and we had gathered over 500 members for the college Nature Club that year. On completion of 30 years of the movement I pray that the movement should remain eternally, giving encouragement to everybody who feels for people and the environment.

From: pr_personal@yahoo.com
Date: 2004/03/18 Thu PM 06:47:21 EST
Padmini Ranganathan in the USA writes:

Kudos the courageous efforts of all the women! Hope their stories continue to inspire many more to come forward with such community-based movements.

From: khilabisht@yahoo.com
Date: 2004/03/18 Thu PM 03:51:05 EST
Khila Bisht in London writes:

To the sisters of Gaura Devi I have a simple message, I have just given birth to a baby girl and I hope with all my heart that her life resonates with your story and that she is blessed by the light of Nanda Devi.

From: krish39123@rediffmail.com
Date: 2004/03/18 Thu AM 06:45:09 EST
Krishan Gopal of WWF-Mumbai in Delhi writes:

May success of the Movement inspire others to fight for the just cause and also those who are willing to fight but has no one to look for the insipration. success of the Movement indicates its simplicity and the singleminded devotion to the purpose. Simple villagers knew that trees are their life and they saved them like that.

From: deb_bannerjee@yahoo.com
Date: 2004/03/18 Thu AM 02:03:28 EST
DP Bannerjee of BNHS & WWF in Mumbai writes:

I congratulate the effort of the villagers and all those who have dedicated their energy to save environment through Chipko movement. A movement of self sacrifice for a cause, as there could be no cause better than saving the nature and environment.The effect of a man’s dream and effort, snowballing into a mass movement.

From: dheerubhaipompom@yahoo.com
Date: 2004/03/18 Thu AM 01:37:51 EST
Dhiraj Gaurh in Delhi writes:

You are our pride and honour. Some things make life worth living. Remembrances about struggle against insurmountable odds for what we love and our beliefs and honour. This is the only thing that gives hope to the millions who come in the future. A belief in our goodness and our future. Perhaps we might really have a future after all.

From: karmanomad@hotmail.com
Date: 2004/03/18 Thu AM 01:05:59 EST
Nirmal Ghosh in Rajpur (Uttarakhand) writes:

You are the guardians of our forests. May you live long and well. Auraton ki Shakti koi nahi rok sakta hai!

Nanda Devi ki Jai!

- Nirmal Ghosh
Trustee, Corbett Foundation
Steering Committee, Project Elephant
Webmaster – http://www.indianjungles.com

From: rupaabdi@rediffmail.com
Date: 2004/03/17 Wed PM 10:32:00 EST
Rupa Abdi in Gujarat writes:

Nari Sakhti! Women have and will always be the keepers of all that is good and sacred in this world.

From: moss@cybermesa.com
Date: 2004/03/17 12:37 PM
Laurence and Romella Moss write:

CONGRATULATIONS, and our best wishes to the women!

From: ashok_bhurtyal@hotmail.com
Date: 2004/03/17 Wed AM 10:01:19 EST
Ashok in Kathmandu writes:

Best wishes on the occasion of 30th anniversary. May your effort scale new heights!

From: info@brenweb.org
Date: 2004/03/17 Wed AM 04:55:14 EST
Feja Lesniewska of the British Russian Ecocultural Network in London writes:

Your actions have become part of the stories which inspire those hearts which were yet to be touched. This still continues to this day. I speak as one who read about your courage and realised I too needed to act because we all have a responsibility to the forest and the Earth.

with gratitude and support,
bless,
Feja Lesniewska

From: s.ashton@bangor.ac.uk
Date: 2004/03/17 Wed AM 04:04:53 EST
Shan Ashton in Wales writes:

Annwyl ferched Chipko/ Dear Women of Chipko,

Thank you for being the inspiration and for showing the way with non-violent direct action, united in peaceful struggle for your community’s future and all our futures.

Gyda pharch a chariad/With respect and love,
Shan

From: kushal26@rediffmail.com
Date: 2004/03/17 Wed AM 03:28:13 EST
Kushal Neogy in Raipur writes:

Whenever I read about Chipko as a child and later interacted as adult with many who were associated directly or indirectly with this cause, it gave me “goosepimples”. Such a small action by the so called common people can become a mass movement!! It is the zeal for those who look beyond their immediate and selfish needs and also keep the efforts alive.

Long Live the Spirit!!!

May this spread with a stronger force than ever.

All the best and regards for the movement and the grand event.

From: megh_rai@hotmail.com
Date: 2004/03/17 Wed AM 02:49:10 EST
Megh Ranjani Rai in Dehradun writes:

Dear Women of the Chipko movement. I salute you and your effort. I admire the will and determination in your attempt to save the uniqueness of the garhwal hills. It is people like you, who make us the “educated” mass feel so humble.

All my best wishes and please do let me know if I can be of help.I would love to meet up with you all sometimes.

With the best of wishes and Jai Badribishal ki jai as we say in Garhwal.

Megh Ranjani Rai
Gender Consultant and Managing Director of a solar energy company

From: mahtoliadc@yahoo.com
Date: 2004/03/17 Wed AM 02:23:41 EST
Dinesh Mahtolia of the Uttarakhand Academy of Administration in Nainital writes:

Congratulations on the 30th Anniversary of “CHIPKO” movement. The commitment and bravery showed 30 years ago by the mothers and sisters that gave a great honour to us will remain an inspiration forever for the younger generation.

The message, “Strength lies in unity” given by the great movement is quite realistic and effective particularly in the context of the new state to save its’ environmental prosperity for the present and future generations. The celebration of thirtieth anniversary would certainly give a new strength to “CHIPKO” movement and to all affiliated with this.

From: sam@iucn.org.np
Date: 2004/03/16 Tue PM 10:44:01 EST
Samuel Thomas of the IUCN in Kathmandu writes:

Your courage and firm faith brought issues of environmental justice, local self- determination and resource governance to the fore. You inspired an entire generation of social and environmental justice activists, and no doubt will continue to inspire future generations as they learn of that watershed event. We are all indebted to you. More power to the people!!

From: mjoshi@hsph.harvard.edu
Date: 2004/03/16 Tue PM 09:38:09 EST
Manisha Joshi in Boston, USA writes:

Congratulations! Strength lies in cohesion …..a lesson for the younger generations to stay united in struggles…..three cheers for our Chipko women!

From: rupabasnet@hotmail.com
Date: 2004/03/16 Tue AM 09:52:15 EST
Rupa in Nepal writes:

Congratulation on the thirtieth Chipko Movement Anniversary. I hope this courageous and just “Chipko Movement” forever will remain an inspiration to all the women (present and future) who are fighting against any form of injustice.

Long live gender empowerment!

From: a.hekkers@planet.nl
Date: 2004/03/16 Tue AM 09:51:17 EST
Annemarie Hekkers in the Netherlands writes:

Dear Women of Chipko,

Thanks to women like you, there is hope for the globe. Preserving trees in a peaceful way is the path to go. Keep up, you are an example for may of us.

From: sarbaraj.khadka@ait.ac.th
Date: 2004/03/16 Tue AM 09:34:37 EST
Sarba Raj Khadka of Nepal, currently at AIT in Thailand writes:

Dear respectful mothers and sisters,

You made “Chipko” a grand success and held high your movement around the world. You, the creators of the humanity, took the responsiblity of savers, too, which will remain remembered throughout our present and future. We still need more initiations and struggles from you, not alone, but in joint initiatives of all the humanity to save our environment, our natural resources and our biological diversity not only for our generation but also for all the generations that will follow us. I hope, this thirtieth anniversary of “Chipko” movement will give additional energy and strength to all.

Long live Chipko movement!
Long live human solidarity for peace and prosperity!!
United we win, so let us swear to unite to fight against all evils!!!

From: apmn@mtnforum.org
Date: 2004/03/16 Tue AM 05:59:53 EST
Moderator of Mountain Forum-Asia in Kathmandu writes:

Thirty years ago, the Chipko movement sent a strong message to the world, underscoring, through activism, the importance of local self-determination in the management of Natural Resources in the Indian Himalayas. It has become increasingly clear that the environmental custodians / local users of natural resources should have a greater say in Natural Resource Management (NRM). Greater local decision-making coupled with greater local control over local resources, greater local autonomy, greater local participation – in keeping with the principles of subsidiarity – should increasingly guide NRM, not extractive exploitation by distant vested interests. Quite frankly, the lesson of the Chipko Movement is that the future of natural resources rests with the local peoples / communities. They are the best managers.

My infinite admiration for the 27 women and the girls from Reni village, all of whom under the able leadership of Gaura Devi, started it all. They are an inspiration to anyone, not just to those who worship at the altar of ‘sustainable development’.

More power to the local people/communities!!!!

From: navin@pangti.com
Date: 2004/03/15 Mon PM 12:38:31 EST
Navin Pangti in New Delhi writes:

That’s the way to go …to stand for what you believe in! …to take action on it!

Its a great example to learn from… and will always remain so!

From: dboek@sci.kun.nl
Date: 2004/03/15 Mon AM 05:36:26 EST
Dorri te Boekhorst in the Netherlands writes:

To peacefully fight. To sustain against tide. To protect and preserve.

You all show a wonderful example and deserve respect! Keep up the good work!

From: rajiv@yorku.ca
Date: 2004/03/14 Sun PM 03:07:13 EST
Rajiv Rawat in Toronto, Canada writes:

I was born three months after the fateful events at Reni, but it’s impact has been with me, perhaps subconsciously as my family migrated from Uttarakhand to Canada, and I learned to be an environmental and social justice activist. It was only afterwards did I finally hear the story of Gaura Devi and the women of Reni, and ever since I have been grateful for the inspiration.

It recent years my studies led me back to Nanda Devi and the struggle to rectify a historic injustice in the quest for a sustainable and prosperous future. Thus this web site pays homage to Gaura Devi and all the fighting women of Uttarakhand.

Nanda Devi Ki Jai!

From: step@agni.com
Date: 2004/03/13 Sat AM 03:09:13 EST
Afifa from Bangladesh writes:

Congratulations on the Thirtieth Anniversary of Chipko movement. The Courage and the commitment women showed 30 years ago will remain as a milestone, an example and an inspiration for the younger generation.

Best wishes for your future activities.